Ginsburg’s death hit hard among American legal scholars, many of whom described the justice as an idol and a trailblazer, and who spoke admiringly about her influence on constitutional law.
“Justice Ginsburg was defined by her brilliance, her dedication to her work, her resilience, and her unwavering devotion to taking up the Founders’ calling, set out in the Preamble to our Constitution, to make ours a ‘more perfect Union,’ ” said Amanda Tyler, a professor University of California at Berkeley, who clerked for Ginsburg.
“We should honor the life of RBG, American hero, by refusing to give in, refusing to back down, fighting for the civil rights of all people & demanding our leaders honor the rule of law,” said Joyce Vance, a former U.S. attorney in the Obama administration who teaches law at the University of Alabama. “This is our fight now. May her memory be for a blessing.”
Many noted Ginsburg’s role in deciding the most consequential legal cases spanning generations, from rulings on gender equality to health care to voting rights.
“Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a giant. She was a giant of constitutional law,” Joshua Blackman, a professor at South Texas College of Law, told Al Jazeera in an interview. “For nearly 50 years, she was at the center of all the major legal developments in our country. We’re all saddened profoundly and deeply by her loss.”
She was respected across the political spectrum. Writing in Reason, Ilya Somin, an adjunct scholar at the libertarian Cato Institute, said: “It is easy to praise judicial opinions (and other writings) we agree with. In Ginsburg’s case, it is worth noting that I often found much of value in her writings even when I thought she was wrong.”
While many of the tributes from legal scholars focused on Ginsburg’s accomplishments as a lawyer and a jurist, the rapidly intensifying fight in Congress over her replacement was difficult to ignore.
Erin Murphy, a law professor at New York University, remarked on Ginsburg’s famous friendship with Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in 2016, saying it offered a stark contrast to the looming political battle.
“What irony,” Murphy wrote, “that the deaths Scalia & Ginsburg — the two revered justices from opposite ends of the political spectrum, famously best buds notwithstanding ideological difference — precipitated our extreme free fall into rancor & partisanship.”